Rights of the Public: Lessons Learned Findings from Civil Rights Litigation

Rights of the Public

Remain cognizant of the public’s right to peacefully gather, observe, photograph, record, and/or comment on officer conduct

Baltimore, MD           East Haven, CT           Ferguson, MO           Los Angeles County, CA           New Orleans, LA
Portland, OR              Yonkers, NY

Train officers on permissible exceptions to the rights of the public per departmental policy

  • Document instances where officers order members of the public to stop recording
  • Report to supervisors when they believe they were recorded by the public

Baltimore, MD           East Haven, CT

Develop a process for soliciting formal feedback from external offices on the quality of law enforcement activity

  • These stakeholders include prosecutor’s offices, public defender’s offices, and judges

Refrain from restricting an individual’s freedom during an investigatory stop or detention in any of the following ways (unless there is a basis for justifying the action): 

  • Taking away a person’s identification
  • Ordering a motorist to exit the vehicle
  • Placing a pedestrian against a wall
  • Directing a person to stand or remain standing not of their choosing
  • Directing a person to lie on the ground
  • Applying handcuffs
  • Placing someone in a police vehicle
  • Frisking
  • Unholstering or pointing a weapon

Baltimore, MD           Ferguson, MO  

Make an analysis of data, departmental policies, and reports available to the public

Alamance County, NC           Baltimore, MD           New Orleans, LA           Puerto Rico

The information provided above has come directly from the consent decree language, which can be accessed by clicking on each corresponding city’s consent decree. This information is intended to guide departments on decisions and actions to improve their Constitutional policing practices. Additional resources and information may be needed to implement these recommendations successfully. For assistance in implementing recommendations, contact the Knowledge Lab team.

Rights of the Public Resources

Do you have resources to share with the field? Are you an agency that is doing this work as well?

Do you have resources to share with the field? Are you an agency that is doing this work as well?